How Incarceration Affects Juveniles: A Focus on the Changes in Frequency and Prevalence of Criminal Activity
Giguere, Rachelle Marie
Bushway, Shawn D
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There has been a longstanding debate over the effectiveness of correctional institutions. Some argue that incarceration deters offenders while others argue that the experience of being incarcerated causes individuals to continue in their life of crime. Resolving this debate is of particular importance for young individuals when there is a national push for the increased treatment of youth as adults. Using NLSY panel data, this study focuses on how the criminal offending of a sample of incarcerated youth changes over time in relation to incarceration while including a control group of youth who are not incarcerated but are similar in demographics. Close attention is paid to overcome past problems with validity. The findings suggest that incarceration does little to stop criminal paths or future contacts with the criminal justice system, but perhaps may even have harmful effects on youth, particularly drug sellers, over the short term.